Starbucks new reusable cups not green enough, some say

by | Jan 18, 2013 | News

Courtesy WikiCommons

Some say Starbucks’ new reusable cups are not green enough
Courtesy WikiCommons

By Cindy McKenney

Some environmentalists are saying the new Starbucks reusable cup initiative is not enough.

The new cups are starting to roll across Canada and the United States this week and are available to purchase for $1.00.

They can be used up to 30 times before they start to disintegrate.

The initiative was announced earlier this month in an effort to reduce trash and was tested in 600 Pacific Northwest pilot stores in October 2012.

Starbucks refused to comment on the initiative on the phone but in an email statement said the reusable cup is a high quality, low cost option that can hold a tall or grande beverage of your choice.

Starbucks is offering a ten cent discount every time a customer uses one of the new cups.

Franz Hartmann, executive director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance, said he was not sure what the advantage of Starbucks’ announcement is and that the best way to move forward is to just have a washable, reusable cup. He said there are hundreds of options currently available.

“To me, it’s like if you are going through the effort to create a cup for a limited number of uses, why not create something more long term?” Hartmann said. “The real solution is getting people to buy reusable cups that can be used over and over again, but creating a cup that can be used 30 times is a step in the right direction.”

Avid coffee drinker Karen Mayich, a 25 year-old student at Mount Saint Vincent University, said she questions the real reason behind the company’s new green initiative and said it might be difficult to convince people to start using the new cups.

“If they really cared about the environment and the price of their coffee, they could find a more permanent solution  to the problem. I really believe they are doing this for the wrong reasons,” she said.

A poll by YouGov Omnibus, a website referenced in an article on, suggests otherwise. According to the poll, 28 percent of Americans have already purchased or are planning to purchase one of the new cups.

According to a US Today article, Starbucks’ goal is to have five per cent of their customers using one of the new reusable cups by 2015.